I Doubt I'll Ever Understand the ArchDruid
I asked John for clarification on the paragraph he wrote to me, below. I've linked the comment page, so that if you like, you can see the full conversation. It might be supposed that I'm taking this quote out of context. But it makes no sense to me, so even though I'm in the conversation, it is missing a lot of context already, from my viewpoint.
JMG I've noticed makes very vague statements and you can interpret them different ways. I guess that's a general trait of the religious class. He accused me of oversimplifying, when he's intentional vague. I did simplify, because I'm trying to understand him, and arguing about nitpicking details, in my experience goes nowhere in this sort of discussion. It wouldn't help me understand his philosophy.
The following quote, can be interpreted in a lot of different ways.
John Michael Greer Wrote, "As for the relative culpability of small thieves vs. big thieves, of course you don't see the kind of cheating the government you're likely to commit as the same kind of thing you criticize in Goldman Sachs. Nobody does -- and yet 10 million Americans cheating the government out of $1000 a year very quickly outstrips anything Goldman Sachs has done. The reason why so many people like to project the shadow of their own misdeeds onto some convenient scapegoat, such as bankers, is that it allows them to ignore the impact that their own actions have when multiplied by the millions of people who are doing the same thing.
You do share their guilt; that's why you're trying to pin so much blame on them."
If he's not engaging in a personal attack, or arguing that if I don't like being a victim, then I must be a criminal, then maybe he's discussing mass guilt? I hope he's not trying to defend and support the crimes that GS is committing.
As I can't get him to give me a straight answer on anything, does anyone know his position on this? Does he believe that we are all individually responsible for all of the sins and crimes committed by our fellow man?
I'll admit at one time, I felt responsible for events unfolding in my country. I did so because for a time, I stood behind some of the people that had gone on to do a great deal of damage to my beloved country. I have learned from that. I now oppose most of the politicians and the system that are nurturing the corruption. I've lost my faith in political parties as they exist today. I've come to understand that power does give shelter, for corruption to fester in.
I do not believe that I am responsible for what other men do. I am not responsible for their actions and decisions. I am not responsible for the crimes of men that will never meet and never influence. And I am not responsible for crimes that I oppose.
JMG is clear I believe in telling me that because I oppose these crimes, I share the guilt in them. So in his view, I am guilty of a host of terrible crimes.
I wonder what crimes that JMG does not support? Does he feel he is guilty of these crimes?
Is this any way to go through life? Carrying the load of the world's guilt upon your shoulders?
John Michael Greer wrapped it up with an accusation that I'm a criminal tax cheat. I seem to have a real knack for finding some unusual people on the web. I sent him a civil response, asking him not to call me a criminal in public. I told him that he didn't seem to actually be reading what I wrote, and did my best to correct his interpretation of what I had written.
At the top of my reply, I mentioned that he should probably not allow the comment, as I am addressing it just to him, and I don't have his email address. I told him i would continue reading his articles, but I would no longer comment.
The exchange I had with him, reminded me a lot of the problems I had in a Baptist Sunday School as a child, that led to me being kicked out of the church at 13. I asked too many questions. I was bothered by the inconsistencies. And I was informed that Satan filled me questions and I was dammed for all eternity. Maybe that's not such a bad thing, if this is what hanging with religious leaders will be like in the afterlife.
When you or anyone else cheats on your taxes, you're pocketing government revenues. When you or anyone else votes your pocketbook rather than your conscience, you're distorting government decisions for personal profit. When you or anyone else dismisses what's left of our constitutional government as a fascist regime, you're undermining democracy. The faults of the government are simply the faults of the people, projected onto a larger screen; every people, in other words, gets exactly the government it deserves.
This is why it's so disingenuous for people like you to insist that those evil so-and-so's in Wall Street and Washington are responsible for everything wrong with this country. That insistence is an attempt to excuse their own contributions to our troubles by blaming others. Carl Jung called it "projecting the shadow," and it's become very nearly universal in contemporary American politics.
As for me, well, I don't claim to be blameless, but I don't cheat on my taxes, I don't vote my pocketbook, and I don't trash talk what's left of American democracy. You do the math.